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Local students were visited Friday by the ultimate representative of the University of Louisville.
James Ramsey, president of the university, visited Central Hardin High School and Elizabethtown High School as part of his yearly Fall Presidential Outreach program.
Ramsey visited with selected students at both schools and discussed the benefits of college in general and U of L specifically. He was joined by Jenny Sawyer, director of admissions, and Dr. Paul McKinney, a professor and associate dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Sawyer spoke of the admissions process and scholarships, and McKinney gave presentations on his field.
Ramsey told the students at Central that a college degree has never been as important as it is now, with many manufacturing jobs moving overseas and creative and information-based jobs replacing them.
The unemployment rate for those with degrees is much lower as well, he said.
Ramsey said the university likes recruiting high-achieving students.
“We don’t want to be the biggest,” he said. “We want to be the best.”
Jaymar Bonet, a 2010 graduate of Central and daughter of a faculty member, spoke to the students about her experiences the university and being a McConnell Scholar, a scholarship for political science students that offers travel and seminar opportunities.
“It was nice to come back and see everyone,” she said.
Central was having a “pink-out” at the school Friday, with staff and students dressed in the color, so the Louisville representatives got with the theme. They even brought a bright pink pace car from the World Sprint Cup race.
McKinney gave presentations on his field at both schools. At Elizabethtown, he spoke of the misconceptions of public health, ranging from public health officials are only known to deal with infectious diseases to they only provide services like restaurant health inspections. While they do both, they do more, like research and environmental health.
McKinney said there’s a growing recognition that public health forces need to be built back up, so he’s eager to share the career opportunities with students. There’s also a lot that the public doesn’t know about the field.
“We’re realizing more and more that people don’t understand the role of public health,” he said.
The visits were capped with a lunch at the Historic State Theater for Governor’s Scholars and National Merit Scholars.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 firstname.lastname@example.org.